There’s more to blossoming ties between the Indian and Japanese prime ministers than counterbalancing the rise of China, analysts say.
“India right now is shopping for money. That to me trumps any longer geo-political considerations, especially with respect to China. I’m sure India also wants very strong relations with China as it is India’s largest trading partner,” said Taimur Baig, chief Asia economist at Deutsche Bank.
“There are broader issues down the road about supplanting China as a manufacturing hub, but that’s not today’s story. That’s years from now. First off is getting the macro house in order as far as India’s concerned,” he said.
Narendra Modi made a five-day visit to Tokyo last week, his first major trip to a foreign country since becoming India’s prime minister in May. Stronger ties between India and Japan are rooted in an over two-year old friendship between Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that began in 2012 when Modi visited Japan during his role as Gujarat’s Chief Minister. The leaders hold similar conservative-nationalistic, pro-business views.